I have recently completed Jamaica’s 14 parishes in 14 days— 14 days around the island seeking out the best experiences, the best sights and the best Jamaica has to offer.
While having previously visited these parishes on several different occasions, doing the whirlwind of a road trip, I felt it was necessary to highlight the best.
If you are a Jamaican citizen, resident, visitor— basically once your feet has touched the Jamaican soil, these are the ultimate Jamaican experiences to indulge in.
1. Cliff Jumping & Sunset Watching at Rick’s Cafe- Negril, Westmoreland
The most visited bar in the Caribbean is located on the West-End of Negril in the parish of Westmoreland.
Rick’s Cafe is famously known for its cliff jumping and its iconic sunset watching. Whilst the crowd here heightens late evening, I want to think everyone comes during specified hours for a reason. For one, it is perched on the cliffs, it’s the best spot to take in the sunset on the west end, the vibe is great and so is the energy.
Cliff jumping here is also iconic. My take on it; if you are visiting Negril be sure to indulge on the cliff jumping here. It is quite an experience to have and to see.
Know before you go: This is an open bar thus there is no entrance fee. The bar gets pretty busy around late evening, sunset hour; approximately 3pm-7pm. You can also dine here with a view. Be sure to make a reservation if you are thinking of dining during the peak hours.
2. Take in the views from the FireFly Estate in St. Mary
This is one of the best “look out” spots in Jamaica. Remotely perched on the hill, the views from the Firefly Estate are breathtaking.
Aside from the it being a look-out, the Firefly Estate is also the burial ground from the famous English Playwright; Noël Coward.
Know before you go: The entrance fee to the lookout is JMD600 and JMD1200 if you are interested in having a tour.
The condition of the roads to get here is not the best but it is totally worth it.
3. Hike the Blue Mountains Peak in St. Thomas
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range on the island stretching across St. Andrew , St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary. The Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point in Jamaica and one of the highest in the Caribbean.
It is also home to the Blue Mountain Coffee. If you are up for an adventure, hiking to Jamaica’s highest peak is strongly recommended.
Know before you go: There are a few ways to hike up to the peak, but the most popular way is to spend the night near Penlyne Castle, sleep in at Jah B’s or Whitfield Hall. The idea is to get a head start in the early hours so you can reach the peak by sunrise.
A guide is not necessary as the trail is clearly marked. Though if you beginner or an amateur at hiking I personally recommend getting one.
Considering a few breaks for food and photos getting to the peak should take approximately 2.5-3hrs. The view is breathtaking, make sure you have some landscape photography tips to capture the best.
Please note that the entrance fee to the park is collected at the Portland Gap.
4. Go rafting on Martha Brae River in Trelawny
The Martha Brae River is frequently visited my locals and tourists for a reason. Its is absolutely stunning and well… relaxing.
The Martha Brae River is located in the parish of Trelawny and is a popular highlight for the parish. It is a natural wonder and if you are looking to experience Jamaica on a raft, “cruising” down a river, this too I highly recommend.
Know before you go: The raft has the capacity of 2 persons + guide at a price of JMD8,400. If you a a solo traveller the price may differ. There is a visitors’ office for more info.
The raft down the river is approximately 1.5hrs but may vary depending on if you’d like to go swimming, photo-taking… etc.
5. Have a drink at the Pelican Bar in Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth
In case you are wondering this is no normal bar.
The Pelican Bar is located somewhat is the middle of the ocean with a 360° view of nothing but the horizon and well, the ocean. Your mode of transportation to the bar is a boat.
There is no other like this in Jamaica. My opinion, be sure to give it a go!
Know before you go: You can get a boat from Treasure beach out to the bar. Price tend to vary. As of December 2019 the approximate price per boat was JMD9000. The more people per boat, the less expensive it is per individual.
The bar offers dining option. Be ready to pay a little more than the usual price. Afterall, you’ll be dining in the middle of the ocean.
The sunsets from here are superb!
6. Swim at the Old Spanish Bridge In the border of the Parish of St. Mary and St. Ann
You will hear the locals call this location White River. Though for most of our outside of the two parishes it is the Old Spanish Bridge for us.
Located both in the parish of St. Mary and St. Ann this natural beauty is one to behold. It is one of the bluest and most transparent waters I am yet to see across the island.
Know before you go: It is a the perfect spot to take a swim. If you’d like to avoid the crowd here, be sure to go during the week and on days the cruise ships are not docked in Ocho Rios. Entrance is free.